The UK Korean event of 2012 happened last weekend to an explosive response. It was a long week with high emotions for Kpop fans living and staying in the UK and excitement levels were through the roof. But this MBC Festival was not just about fangirling; not only did we get to learn about culture and witness some live Kpop, the event itself was linked with a very important cause. This MBC festival was especially to commemorate British Korean War Veterans who fought for South Korea 62 years ago and got front row seats at the festival! All proceeds of the festival will also be donated to a fund for the Korean War Veterans, a worthy and appropriate cause as today, 25 June, marks the anniversary of the start of one of the most horrible tragedies to occur in Korea, the Korean War. It is perhaps difficult to understand why Korea is the way it is without first understanding the war which broke out between the north and the south on June 25th, 1950. ~ Facebook Seoul.
We have the say the festival organisation could have done with some more work as we’re not sure if O2 realised what they were dealing with. The disorganisation from O2 resulted in many people entering into the arena late and missing the promotional video (apparently starring Afterschool’s Uee) and the opening stage of Korean drums. As we walked into the arena, our excitement was turned into frustration as we walked in to see 4Minute already beginning their performance! We hope not too many people missed 4Minute’s flawless stage!
The opening stage was the Samulnori Team. Unfortunately we missed all but about one second of this! This was pretty disappointing as the miniscule second that we did catch looked really epic and dramatic. Hopefully we can catch these guys at a future date.
This was followed by 4Minute who performed four songs. They exploded onto the stage with their latest single ‘Volume up’. Then after greeting the audience and introducing themselves, they leap straight back into powerful attitude divas with ‘Mirror Mirror’, ‘HuH’ and debut single ‘Hot Issue’ (ha!). 4Minute looked absolutely flawless with their amazing Volume Up concept outfits. The styling was trendy yet uber sexy with thigh high splits that caused a lot of screams from fanboys (and many girls) all around! Especially those on Kings row B…..You know who you are! They sang live and appeared really energetic with flawless performances and routines like the super pros that they are.
After that, what looked to us like a traditional Bboy came on stage to prepare the audience for Queen. He performed some amazing stunts which got the audience really fired up.
Queen, who are a modernised traditional music team, lit up the stage with the beautiful and energetic songs. Ranging from traditional to modern, they played some great tunes. We even heard the ‘Mission Impossible’ theme in their routine! The violinist was particularly impressive. You could see the hairs of the bow breaking rapidly from her epic violining throughout their stages.
More traditional male dancing with tassels being whipped back and forth and round and round was next from the Samulnori Team. Their dancing is unlike anything we’ve ever seen before. It was a combination of acrobatics, fashion and music! Really a superb visual spectacle that had the audience enthralled. And who said men can’t multi-task?!
More traditional music followed with the Korean signature Arirang. This was a combination stage of all the cultural performers, including Queen, who returned to the stage in some amazing traditional hanboks with a modern twist.
Hyuna and Gayoon were the MCs for the evening, and were accompanied by a translator in a beautiful green dress giving the sexy ladies a run for their money. Just a quick ‘thank you’ for being our translator for the night!
Up next was something so completely different and unique – the Norazo stage! They first sang ‘Happy Song’ in football kits, with balls and sunglasses being thrown into crowds, some being unfortunately stuck in light stands! They then did ‘Curry’ (as performed earlier in KCC Kpop Academy flashmob), ‘King of Sales’, and lastly, ‘Superman’ (사이즈가 장난 아니지!). Although Norazo was probably the least known Kpop act in the UK appearing at the festival, we’re sure after this set, they gained approximately 2400 new UK fans!!! Big up UnitedKpop for providing us with some amazing fans too! Norazo were a hilarious duo who will be welcomed back with big arms (the size is no joke!).
Dae2Baek Movement, the Kpop cover dance Europe champion team, then burst onto the stage and danced a great array of the latest Kpop hits. These included songs by Shinhwa, Dalmation, TTS, Wonder Girls, T-ara, BAP, and the UK’s current favourite Kpop tune, ‘Fantastic Baby’. The U-Kiss ‘Dora Dora’ dance was complete with Kiseop shirt lift although us Europeans do it less subtly, and was greeted with epically loud screams. Why just a subtle tease of a shirt lift when you can just rip open your jacket? (This screaming was just a taster of what was yet to come… *whispers EXO…*)
Once EXO-K had finished their performance, all the acts came on stage to end the show. Overall, this festival was amazing. It incorporated traditional culture with pop culture elements to appeal to the next generation, as well as keeping the older fans happy and introducing them to some Kpop. Everyone was enchanted by the hanboks and culture, laughing with Norazo, cheering for 4Minute and overwhelmed by EXO-K. The audience seemed to have truly enjoyed the show; the fan girls were enthusiastic but very definitely DEAFENING – our ears are still ringing (mainly from our own screaming!).
The day was slightly dampened by O2’s disorganisation, for instance, why were we forced to queue outside in the blasting winds when people were allowed to just walk in from inside after we were specifically turned away. We were also told that even as press, strictly no professional photos, yet we walked in to see many people with DLSR’s and zooms :( Which meant no super awesome shots from our enthusiastic photographers (who made the effort to put their DLSR away in the car). We have also since been told that there was actually an announcement before the show started stating no photos when only 50% of audiences were present… But all these frustrations soon disappeared with all the amazing performances. The combination of culture and Kpop meant there was something for everyone, we all got to see it for an amazing price and in a very nice and intimate venue. We hope you enjoyed our tweeting throughout the night. We worked very hard! *High fives* to our fellow hardworking tweeters Hallyuk who even tweeted during EXO-K! We don’t know how you could tear your eyes away!
Now all the acts have gone back home, we all feel a bit down. Quickly, someone needs to organise another Kpop/KCulture event for everyone! We’ll always be on hand to help if needed :P Just give a clipboard and headset to our Unnie and she can rule the world (and organise an event Monica Geller would be proud of!).